New Car Buying Service Aims To Eliminate Salespeople, from Driving Sales News.
A new car buying service has entered the scene in Southern California that hopes to eliminate car salespeople altogether. According to an article by VentureBeat, car-buying service Roadster launched in a private beta last October and has been in a public beta since November. According to VentureBeat, CEO and founder Andy Moss claims that, “For a lot of people, the experience breaks down when you set foot into a dealership … most people don’t like the negotiation experience,” so Roadster essentially becomes the buyer’s agent acting as a middleman between the dealer and the consumer.
Consumers go to the Roadster website, configure the exact vehicle they want and a Roadster concierge finds the vehicle and negotiates on the consumer’s behalf. Once a price is agreed upon, Roadster collects driver’s licenses, insurance cards and a credit application. While, in most cases, the dealership will handle the financing, Roadster still monitors and negotiates throughout that process. The article claims that Roadster’s “people know all about rebates, incentives, residuals, interest rates, and those other mysteries that go into car price,” and that not only do they handle both sales and leases but also facilitate trade-ins. These trade-ins, however, are not through the dealership, but rather through a network of wholesalers they deal with. The customer submits the VIN, mileage on the vehicle as well as pictures and they are given a trade value. The trade is inspected when the new vehicle is delivered and, unless there is substantial deviation from how the vehicle was represented, is taken by Roadster. After everything is finalized, a Roadster concierge delivers the vehicle to the customer’s home where all of the paperwork is finalized. Another value-add that Roadster claims is that they prevent upsells and finance revenue opportunities like extended warranties, etc.
Roadster’s CEO would like to see car dealerships become “product expertise” centers similar to Apple Genius bars while the majority of sales are facilitated away from the dealership. The article states that this would essentially transform dealerships into a literal storage facility for vehicles and test drive center. They claim the business model works because dealers would no longer have to pay a salesperson commission. Roadster itself takes a 1.25 percent fee for facilitating the transaction. Moss is quoted as saying that “We’re the only full, end-to-end provider for new cars, including home delivery.”
Photo Credit: Roadster.com